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Hedgesville match fire of its coach

February 26, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Kelly Church said his intense coaching style is one most people either love or hate.

Pick a side. The Hedgesville boys basketball coach probably doesn't care.

"Either way," Church said, "I'll never accept anything but 100-percent effort."

That's why he wasn't taking it too well from the bench on Tuesday night, as the No. 9 Eagles were clinging to a 23-17 lead early in the third quarter against visiting - and seemingly overmatched - Berkeley Springs.

Sure, the Indians' constantly changing defensive scheme was giving Hedgesville fits. But it only seemed to take some choice motivational words from the sidelines for the Eagles to figure everything out in a hurry.

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Hedgesville (17-3) closed the third period on an 18-3 run (with two of Berkeley Springs' three points coming off a technical foul on Church) to take control for good on its way to a convincing 63-38 victory.

"We pride ourselves on effort and intensity, and for the first half of tonight's game we had neither," said Church. "I tried to inspire them with some positive words of encouragement at halftime, and I followed it with some intensity on the bench to start the second half.

"Sometimes our kids respond best when I show them the intensity that I expect from them. The change in my level directly coincides with their change."

The Eagles' turned their man-to-man defense up a notch and wasted little time capitalizing at the other end with easy buckets from the paint. Matt Yurish sparked the hosts' decisive third-quarter surge with a 3-pointer from the right corner and added another three-point play in the rally, while Trey Hockman and Duncan Williams fueled it with a pair of baskets each.

The Eagles, who went 26 of 54 shooting for the game, were 9 of 12 in the third quarter.

"We just stepped it up on defense and started guarding people," said Hedgesville center Dustin Gregory, who scored a game- and career-high 20points. "We just started boxing out and stopped getting beat off the dribble. It was getting kind of embarrassing."

Williams finished with 11 points, while Yurish and Matt Deaner each added nine for the Eagles.

Andy Omps scored 14 points to pace the Indians (8-10), who were missing star guard Matt Rockwell due to a sprained ankle.

Berkeley Springs, which finished 13 of 47 shooting, trailed 13-2 after the first quarter, before cutting it to a 21-14 deficit at the half.

"When I look at the score at halftime, I think we played pretty well, especially without someone like Rockwell," said Indians coach Kent Shock. "I didn't think we quite had enough (to win), but we were hoping to make it interesting."

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